Congress leaders
Congress leaders from J&K and Ladakh attending meeting at DelhiCongress media cell

Infighting in the faction-ridden Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress has intensified after the defeat of party candidates on two Lok Sabha seats of Jammu province.

Although the party has improved its vote share on both the Lok Sabha seats it contested, dissidents in the party observed it was all due to the "inefficiency" of the incumbent Congress chief Vikar Rasool Wani that the party has lost both the seats for the third time in a row.

Upset by the defeat of the party, a faction of senior Congress leaders and former ministers in J&K has reportedly approached the party high command, demanding accountability from those leaders who allegedly did not work earnestly for the election victory.

According to sources within Congress, a letter has been sent to the high command seeking immediate intervention to rectify the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where Assembly elections are likely to be held by September this year.

Vikar Rasool Wani
Congress office

Dissidents demand removal of J&K Cong chief

Sources said that a group within the J&K Congress has stepped up demand for the removal of the J&K Congress chief Vikar Rasool Wani from his post.

Accusing the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) of being practically inactive in J&K, these leaders are calling for an urgent discussion on why the Congress failed to secure the Jammu and Udhampur seats despite strong anti-incumbency sentiments during the Lok Sabha elections.

The high command has been urged to dispatch an observer and organize meetings with the J&K Political Affairs Committee, the State Election Committee, and the Campaign Committee, led respectively by Tariq Hamid Karra, JKPCC president Vikar Rasool Wani, and former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, for a thorough deliberation on the matter.

Sources said that dissidents pointed out that there was a strong anti-incumbency in J&K against the sitting Lok Sabha members of the BJP but the party failed to encash the anger against sitting Members of Parliament. They demanded that accountability be fixed on those who were responsible for this debacle.

Dissidents criticized the lackluster approach in the Lok Sabha elections, especially in Jammu, where those in charge failed to effectively utilize available resources, including Congress leadership.

Sources said that dissidents asked the high command to immediately remove the incumbent party chief Vikar Rasool Wani and a seasoned and experienced leader should be appointed as J&K party chief before the announcement of the assembly elections.

Highlighting that the upcoming J&K Assembly elections and preparations were prominently discussed in the Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi today, sources said claimed that the high command has been informed of the dissatisfaction among Congress members regarding the current leadership, along with a request for immediate action.

Reports said that the first letter against Wani was written amid campaigning for the election. It was written on May 7 in which Wani was criticized for ignoring office bearers and causing an unprecedented situation within the party", sources said and another letter was written to Congress Working Committee member Tariq Karra.

Sources said that former MLA Sopore Haji Rashid has written the third letter on May 30.

Rashid, also the senior vice president of PCC, claimed he was sidelined by Vikar Rasool Wani during the election campaign.

The fourth letter, sent on June 2 by eight general secretaries, three vice presidents, three secretaries, and a district president, further detailed Rasool's alleged misconduct.

Wani was appointed as J&K Cong chief in August 2022

Once a loyalist of Ghulam Nabi Azad, Vikar Rasool Wani was appointed as president of the J&K Congress on August 16, 2022. He was made president of the J&K Congress in place of Ghulam Ahmed Mir.

Wani, a former legislator from Banihal and ex-minister, was once close to former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad but chose to lead PCC over joining Azad's new party.

Sources said that the J&K Congress is divided between two groups. While one group owes its allegiance to Vikar Rasool Wani, another group comprises Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Tariq Hamid Karra, and other senior leaders.